tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC June 24, 2018 9:00am-10:01am PDT
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upgrade online now. whether it was the muslim travel ban or the failure in puerto rico or this on family separations, the problem is that this president and his administration, they use cruelty as a hobby, incompetence is their standard operating procedure, division is their tool, and we cannot leave it to chance. we need to verify these children are being reunited with their parents. welcome back to hour three of a special edition of "am joy" from tornillo, texas. this area a huge focus of backlash against the zero tolerance policy on immigration which includes family separations. behind me, people are rallying with a clear message to trump. reunite these migrant kids with their moms and dads. give them back to their
families. this is one of several protests happening across the country today with that very message. joining me now, actor an activist mira sorvino. you are here with a sign says no human is illegal, have a heart, keep families together, reunite those separated. what if they were your children. something to show folks on the other side, you are not alone. why did you come down here? >> this is my second rally/protest against family separation. i'm a mother. i have four children. my worst nightmare is being separated from any of my children more than a minute or so. anything to come to them, any separation. this is breaking my heart. this is a national humanitarian crisis happening right on our soil. we, the united states, who have always considered ourselves to be the bastian of human rights,
we are failing miserably. keeping them in cages in detention centers. i hear they're bussed in in the middle of the night so no one can see them. turn off the lights and bus them in. even they are ashamed and they should be ashamed. >> cal perry talked about moving kids in the middle of the night and you can't see, using telephoto lenses to see what's going on. not letting members of congress into the facility. essentially hiding the children. >> yes. >> did you ever think you would see those reports happening? >> i feel we are in prenazi germany, stages of things occurring on a daily basis, object physical indicati object physical indication, lies are horrendous. we have to be vigilant. every 40 years there's another genocide somewhere. we had a genocide here against our own native indigenous people, we enslaved one out of
eight people living on u.s. soil precivil war was an enslaved person. we have a terrible record on human rights actually. we thought we were doing better now, but we haven't been and we aren't. i'm a goodwill ambassador for united nations of drugs and crime on human trafficking. to see the united states pull out of the u.n. human rights council was so horrifying to me. it sends a message to the world that donald trump and his administration are above the law, they're above international standards, they're beyond censure, and can do whatever the hell they please. nikki haley used economic threats to people. there's no decency, no more alternate route. this -- morality. doesn't matter which administration started which thing. this is happening now. these children are being separated. there are over 2400 migrant children separated from their parents now and we don't know if
they're going to find them again. there has to be total accountability that each of them is reunited. 23 and me is issuing dna kits to help parents and children find each other. some have already been deported. some sent to adoption centers already. some of the kids being taken. apparently a center in michigan, betsy devos' center. >> she doesn't own it. her family. there's a lot of talk about betsy devos family funding a christian adoption, trying to help some of the children. people are concerned. we spoke earlier with one of our analysts that said there's a danger that some of these infants once placed with a family for fostering that the foster family can try to adopt. >> infants don't know parents' names, records are lost, seems like a chaotic process when they were separated. these parents were told their children would be taken to be cleaned up, to go take a bath or
shower. doesn't that have ear ery echos germany when people were told all they needed to do was go into the showers, clean up. some of the parents may never see their children again. another report i read said one border officer quit their job because they had been working there a long time and they saw a teenager trying to comfort a trying toddler, and one of the staff members told them it wasn't allowed, separated them and scolded them for that. this is inhumane. this is not who we are in our hearts as americans. even though our past deeds have been terrible at times, we aspire to something higher. this is supposed to be a beautiful nation. the american dream is a gorgeous dream. we're all immigrants. unless we are native people, unless we are indigenous, we are all immigrants. donald trump's family is an immigrant. >> bavaria.
>> my grandfather came to this country at four years old. had to work in a sweatshop. only an 8th grade education. all his sons contributed to this society. you and i are harvard grads. immigrants contribute to this country. they do not diminish it. they come here with a drive and passion to make a better life for their families that adds to this country. >> absolutely. you're going to speak here today. thank you for joining us. i'm sure folks here appreciate it. before we leave, i want to ask, you mentioned you worked with the u.n. office that deals with things like drug policy, human trafficking. are we doing enough to explain to the american people what is happening in these countries like el salvador, northern triangle, in guatemala, that's sending people to the border? >> i think there's a real confusion. trump is trying to paint these people as illegal criminals who
are breaking our laws when so many of them are asylum seekers. so many of them have risked life and limb to get here to escape something that is far worse than uncertainty of what might happen here. you know, young children, if these children are separated from their parents and cast back, they will probably be trafficked. a child alone in some of these places, there's so much danger, so much vulnerability for them. you can't separate families and kind of, well, go here, go there, we don't know what happened to them. you have to know what happened to them. these people are in our care now. we are a humane society. trump is acting like we are not. trump is acting like our ethos is bitter, brutal, cruel. that's not who we are as americans. i say resist, vote them out. 100% today we are here for the
children. let people know this is blistering 100 degree heat. these children are intent cities, far from their families, alone here with no sense of home, with no sense of comfort, with no sense of what's going to happen in the future. this is going to traumatize them for a very long time. a small separation from parents can be very traumatic for a child. imagine days, weeks, months, possibly years. >> it is frightening. thank you so much. appreciate you being here. i am sure the activists appreciate you being here. show the back of your jacket. you've worn a jacket here that's reminisce en reminiscent of the one melania trump had on. there's the back of the jacket. we care. let's listen to another one of
the speakers. >> i cannot believe we live in a country where it is okay for the government not to tell us where children are. i cannot believe we live in a country, the only country in the entire world that incarcerates children for immigration status. i cannot believe we live in a country that holds children hostage to push a political agenda. and most importantly, i cannot believe it is happening in my home. i'll take you there. take this left. if you listen real hard you can hear the whales. oop. you hear that? (vo) our subaru outback lets us see the world. sometimes in ways we never imagined.
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words of good-bye. welcome back to our special edition of "am joy." we are live in tornillo, texas, where a rally to end family detention and family separation is under way behind me. msnbc jacob soboroff has been at detention centers across the country where efforts are still on-going to reunite thousands of separated families. jacob joins me now. there are a lot of disturbing things we heard, children moved at night, cal perry talked about it, reporting on quickie hearings where people are standing up, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor of crossing the border, then sent back. donald trump saying there shouldn't be hearings, they should just be sent back.
give me your take. is this spiraling further out of control or my feeling sitting here for the first time in texas. >> watching you in tornillo, where we first reported last week that first of the new tent camps would be going up makes me think about what the future of all this will look like. and you're basically sitting in front of it. we may not see kids in cages by themselves for the time being under the trump administration executive order, but we're going to see children detained together with their families intent camps throughout the united states of america. the first version of that being the one sitting behind you right now. that's essentially the message that the united states government is sending to migrants around the world. you come to america, we're going to intern you intent camps like you may have seen happen in this country before. then we're going to keep you there for who knows how long and
you're not going to know what your future holds. it is a giant threat in the form of tent camps throughout the country. and you're sitting in front of the first one of them now. >> and you have been able to go in to some of the facilities, even though the government is controlling what you see, but to cal's point, i'm sure you're concerned about this too, once tent camps are controlled by the military and it is on military bases, we may not see anything. >> it is one of the first things the gentleman in charge of a nonprofit that's under scrutiny for the amount of money gotten from the federal government, hundreds of millions of dollars to house migrant children, and that number surged when they were separated. said to me, i thought it was insightful. when you're on federal property, you're not bound by the same regulations if you had to be licensed by texas department of public health. you don't have to have licensed child care professionals, the rules that would go into making
sure children were safe in a normal hhs facility go out the window on federal property. as cal perry said, it feels like a black site on american soil because we don't know what's happening inside, we don't know the rules under which the facilities are operating. what this raised in real time is so many more questions than answers. i feel like we're asking the questions in many instances before the trump administration is asking them of themselves and that's the reason they're sort of figuring this out with us in real time, which is a terrifying thing to think about. >> the federal government, trump administration is reporting they claim they know where each and every one of the children taken from their parents are. do you believe that having reported since the beginning? >> no way to know for sure. all i can tell you is when a child and parent are apprehended, they're given an a number. how to identify and find people
that have been taken into government custody. nearly impossible to track down one of those numbers if you're not on the inside of the government and ultimately locate somebody. when a kid goes into hhs custody, they get a different identifying piece of information. but we have no evidence that the child and that number that hhs has is connected to the a number the parent has. we asked to figure out how those two things are brought together and coordinated, but we don't know. as you and mariana atencio were talking about, if you're a parent, want to make that connection today or yesterday, saturday or sunday, you're out of luck. nobody will answer the phone. >> not open on weekends. let me play a little of camilla harris, talking about what donald trump is doing, criminalizing all migrants. saying they're all just criminals. here is senator harris talking about that. >> i prosecuted transnational criminal organizations, focused on transnational organizations
that traffic in drugs and guns and human beings. no question, prosecute them. we're talking about moms in this prison that fled domestic violence, sexual abuse, threats to the safety of their children and their sons and we're treating them like common criminals. >> and really quickly, go on. >> my senator from the great state of california is saying there, tcos, something you hear the administration use as justification for extreme policies we are seeing the last couple of weeks and months and through the course of the trump administration. not only are tcos, transnational criminal organizations a small percentage of the overall migrant population that comes into the united states, but we crunched numbers for the dateline special, october to may this year alone, 2% of all people that came into the united states apprehended had a crime,
including misdemeanors. gang members, misdemeanors, the amount of crime coming here including tcos, actually a larger number because you talk about misdemeanors, infinitesimal. >> lastly, you're going to talk about the special tonight. how common is it, the other thing claimed, people bringing children into the country, they're not their children. they're pretending they're their kids. >> 1%. it would be funny if it waesn't so serious. i asked how many fraudulent family units come into the sector, epicenter of the entire thing. he said 1%. but the number might be higher. i said what does that mean, 2%? maybe. 3%? maybe. talking peanuts when it comes to the overall people apprehended crossing that southern border. >> jacob soboroff, will
demystify things you're hearing from the administration. don't just believe them on site. listen to the journalists that can tell you what's true, not true, myths, lies. he has a dateline special tonight, a must watch. special about what's happening on the border, called "the dividing line." we'll all be watching, dvring, tweeting about it tonight. coming up, more "am joy" next. >> i came here when i was six years old. island anymore. [ roar ] [ heavy breathing ] [ scream ] rated pg-13. and we're committed to improving every ride.t to you
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else that people seem to fear more than anything else, it is that children, particularly young children, babies, toddlers, permanently separated from families, never able to go back to them, essentially put into the system in the united states and then potentially adopted out by american families. that's something people are really afraid of. i know you walked us through it earlier. for those not watching earlier, walk us through what the real world risks are of a person deported back to say guatemala, losing permanent custody of their child, having their baby or toddler adopted out to an american family. >> federal and state law requires a state to initiate termination of parental rights if a child is abandoned or neglected for a period of 15 months within the last 23 months. normally that system works if you have a parent addicted to
drugs, disappears, or is incarcerated, that's what the system is designed for, but it doesn't allow for someone detained because of an immigration violation. for that reason anytime you hear the child is released and in foster care, my ears perk up because having handled a lot of the dependency cases, i know that starts a long road where the parent has to go through an obstacle course set by the government to get their child back. and if they do not, at the end of that road, if the state can prove by clear and convincing evidence, parental rights can be terminated and the child can be adopted out. >> and a lot of people are sharing a story from 2012 about a woman that was arrested in an immigration raid, had an 11 month old child. that child was taken from her
because she was incarcerated. five years later was fighting to get the child back from the american couple that adopted the child without her permission. she did not win that case. she lost that case. it wasn't exactly this, wasn't donald trump being president, but it is something that people are afraid of. i want to debunk for people following on social media. i heard this a lot. the question of betsy devos, education secretary, and a company that she's associated with. producers, please give me the name. bethany christian services. they have been assisting on the website, trying to assist some of the children. a lot of people are afraid betsy devos funds it, that's not quite true. her family foundation funded one of the religious freedom restoration acts in her home state of michigan. that would allow bethany christian services and other
christian based adoption agencies to not adopt children out to couples that were gay. it is not her family funds bethany christian. but people are freaked out by it. i want to play the voice mail message. if you call, this is what you hear. take a listen. >> hi, you reached bethany christian services national office and voice mail line in regards to family separation. thank you for contacting us. please listen to the following message carefully. bethany continues to work to reunion fie families that have been separated at the border. long before the zero tolerance policy was implemented, bethany has been proactive in partnering with federal agencies to reunion fie unaccompanied and separated children with their families as soon as possible. upon entry, homeland security works with partnering agencies to place children in shelters or transitional foster care. we recognize that living in large shelters can be traumatic
for children. therefore, bethany offers transitional foster care for children in west michigan and in maryland. our goal to keep children safe until they condition reunified with family. staff work tirelessly to locate parents and other family members so children can be reunified with loved ones. >> danny, should people be concerned an agency that does do adoptions is involving itself in helping find transitional foster care for these children that are separated from their parents? >> the initial goal is always reunification. state law usually requires that. the initial process has an eye towards reunionifying with parents, but they can't meet those requirements if they're detained or removed from the country.
the initial goal is to reunion fie. as soon as i hear they're placed with foster parents, they often develop an attachment, seek to adopt. and foster parents can go to court. a parent can't be there, and may not know about the process. by the time they find out, it is possible parental rights have been terminated by a court. >> one of the reasons people are concerned is that we have not been given much access. great reporters from our team and other news organizations haven't been given much access to infants and toddlers. that's where a lot of concern is. are there different rules that apply in terms of placement of a child who is upped five years old because of what you said, because of the fact a foster family, even if not a blood relative can become attached and
want to keep the child. >> the rules change as soon as they leave federal custody. then they're under the purview of the state government, whatever its respective laws are. these systems try to account for special needs of young children, infants and children who have physical conditions. they try to make allowances for that. again, it is the government. it doesn't always work with perfect efficiency. again, anytime you hand kids over to a facility or foster parents, you raise the possibility that foster parent will develop a stronger attachment. and that might ultimately be a consideration if a court makes a best interest consideration. here you have a child in a home, two parents. they live nearby, live in the state, they complied with everything the statute requires them to do. meanwhile, you have a now removed parent who complied with nothing under the statute because they can't.
>> yeah. and they've also pled guilty to a crime. they quickie pleaded to a misdemeanor, to a crime. they're not physically there. there's a lot to unpack. haven't started to talk about family members that may want to take them in and foster them. they may be concerned about their own immigration status for fear of being investigated if they try to step forward. a lot to unpack here. we're going to keep talking about it. thank you very much. appreciate it. coming up, more "am joy" live from tornillo, texas. >> number one, it is our tax dollars that he is using to separate families and keep families in detention. whose tax dollars are they? that's right. it's gone. that's why you need someone behind you. not just a card. an entire support system. whether visiting the airport lounge to catch up on what's really important.
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all right. welcome back to this special edition of "am joy" live on the border in tornillo, talking about the crisis by the donald trump separating families. steps away from a rally against the separation of children. cal, you have the advantage in a lot of ways having covered not just what's happening to the children, but been around the world covering these kinds of crises. you can see the parallels that many of us cannot. i wonder if to you this feels
like an american crisis because we have history or if it feels like the united states becoming more like some of the governments around the world that you covered. >> certainly both, but feels like the latter to me because i come from places around the world, covering the syria refugee crisis, seeing the government of turkey work it out. then coming here, seeing our government try to unravel the entire thing. part of it, as i travel around the world, our moral credibility matters to journalists and citizens, that u.s. blue passport used to mean something and it doesn't any more because people look at donald trump and see this as a trend and see it as what it is, which is totalitarian government. >> do people see it as -- you and i talked on break, we look, you look at mubarak in egypt or look at the current government in syria, or government in turkey, government in
philippines. the government in hungary. are we becoming more like them? >> yes. people are afraid around the world. the u.s. used to speak out on these issues around the world. u.s. used to say you can't throw journalists in jail. no one is making that phone call any more. i was interviewing a senator from new mexico yesterday, he went in and asked what is the plan for getting the kids back with their families. he was told, senior senator from new mexico was told call back in a week. it is easy to get upset as you sit here and cover this. >> how would a parent, if you're told the senator is told call back in a week, the family is told we're not open on weekends, call back. >> call the 1-800 number only at 8:00 a.m. on monday morning. then as jacob soboroff, plress one for spanish, like checking
your bank balance. >> families in the u.s. that may want to help their niece or nephew or grandchild, having their own trepidation about coming forward in what will be a government related process if they have mid status families. >> in this town, there's huge decrease of attending public schools. afraid they're going to drop the kid at school and somebody will be waiting for them and they'll be escorted across the border. people stand en masse and plead together. do you plead guilty. then they're escorted across the border. that wouldn't happen if they were white. we wouldn't be there pleading guilty. >> once you plead guilty, you're on the other side of the border, in mexico or going back to guatemala, spent all your savings. you who would somebody participate in a process to get them back. >> how are you going to call that number and reach out.
hopefully your child ends up with a relative. maybe they end up with a random family in some weird adoption thing. >> when you go to these facilities, are there attorneys there, are they represented by legal counsel? >> no, they get represented at the federal courthouse. starting to see some senators were able to get in, but level of distrust is incredible. he said i didn't believe when i officials said between 14 and 18 because kids were smaller, hadn't eaten. he said i shouted ott them. i shouted how old are you. they confirmed their ages. >> when you go into the facility, one of the other questions, congressman wilson is asking, jacob sob or off, are you seeing the girls and babies? >> i haven't gotten in. i haven't had access. to take a member of this united states government, bring them
in, show them that footage, and that member of the government doesn't trust it is a live feed. we reached this place, we can't get in, don't trust the fo officials. we found out seven girls were brought in. >> we were told 2300 kids detained, then told 500 reunited. today told it was 2300 again. it is not clear what the numbers are. >> when i am handed a press release, we turn to the camera, say according to government of egypt, and we make it clear, it is on them. we reached a place i am standing in front of an internment camp and saying according to the u.s. government, we don't know whether to believe it or not, but this is what they're telling us. >> do you have expectation once it moves to military bases, journalists will have access? >> no. department of defense will say they're closed facilities. they'll contract out a lot of work and that's an extra layer.
to get on a u.s. government facility, you have to be embedded, have an rto. and dod, this is not what they do. >> talking up to 100,000? >> putting 40,000 beds in fort bliss. talking about fort bliss. they have their own train, own airfield. how are we going to track it. >> trying to recall numbers of japanese americans that were interned. >> 30,000 children. we'll have to check that out. we want to debunking the myths and telling people the cold, hard facts. >> think about men and women as you talk about the military. i spent time in iraq, a lot of them were not citizens when they went there. from california, from l.a. area, and they were fighting for what we believe in, and as far as i know, what we believe in is not
this. >> i grew up in denver, colorado. >> hi a -- i had a story where he was driving and got pulled over. coming up, more from texas. >> we will fix this. this moment in time shows us our leadership has failed us. you showing up today has showed us we know how to fix this and we will. thank you. i am all about living joyfully. ♪ hello. the new united explorer card hooks me up. getting more for getting away. rewarded! going new places and tasting new flavors.
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like millions of others, your teen may not be vaccinated against meningitis b. meningitis b strikes quickly. be quick to talk to your teen's doctor about a meningitis b vaccine. all right. welcome back to this three-hour edition of "a.m. joy." we've been here for the past three hours watching behind us as a rally, one of many across the country, demanding an end to family separations, this one here in texas just over the border from mexico. but they're taking place all over the country. the organizer of thirs rs rally back be me.
this is remarkable you pulled this off. >> five days. >> a very short time. our staff was back and forth with you trying to make sure we could get you, first of all. this is important, why? >> it's important because we have to bear witness, this is -- tornillo is ground zero of the first tent cities they erected for children. when we started having the conversation of whether or not to do it last wednesday, there were 98 children house the. today there are close to 300, 260 are housed. the camp behind us has an ability of expansion for 4,000 beds. >> yeah. >> i was talking to a cameraman that basically has been keeping watch since they first erected it, he was sharing with me that the majority of activity happens in the dead of night where they come in and shepherd the children in and do it on purpose bl , they don't want people to bear witness. the rally is so important, we're kicking it off today, going to end up in washington, d.c., with the national domestic workers,
with move-on, while this is an atroci atrocity, this has to lay on the feet not only of the president but mitch mcconnell. >> next saturday, i know those are taking place across the country. the moving of children in the dead of night, separating of children from families, some of them perhaps permpermanently. the quickie hearings, a group of migrants stand up and say, si, when they're asked if they plead guilty of the misdemeanor of crossing the border. the possibility that maybe thousand of these children's moms and dads are already gone and the potential the kids may think they were abandoned, may not know why their parents are not there. unfortunately, there's a history in the united states of it. i wonder what people can do with the sense of really personal anguish that they're feeling, asking what can i do if i can't come to tornillo? >> more importantly, stopseparation.org. stopseparation.org has resources. one is you have to call your congress person just like health care broke the switchboard, we have to call that switchboard
because i deeply believe that what is happening behind us is not american. what is happening behind us is regardless of party. and americans are -- know that. they're ashamed. they're embarrassed. that is not who our values are. when you are at stopseparation.org, you also have local organizations that -- >> perfect. >> -- desperately need help. >> yeah. >> been overwhelmed, they provide legal services, provide basic incidentals, they provide counseling. a site that's going to house 4,000 people, they need -- >> stopseparation rl.o.org is t clearinghouse. tiffany tweeted me a while ago. i was trying to see if we could get my social media producer to respond on social media. hopefully you're watching. that is the answer to your question. tiffany who tweeted me. go to stopseparation.org. >> specifically in el paso, this has literally been an explosion. one of the people they were really concerned with is normally they provide legal servicesdetention.
>> yeah. >> they have not been allowed inside. >> the only thing they think is happening is they're preparing for expansion. it's not enough to end separation. we have to end family detention. >> indefinite. >> cal perry, our great reporter, looked it up, between 110,000 and 130,000 japane japanese-americans, americans, by the way, americans of japanese descent, were separated from society, put into military internment camps unfortunately during the franklin delano roosevelt administration. some people are still alive. internment camps are back, unfortunately. how can people petition their government to stop it if the first branch of government, if the congress of the united states, will not exercise its article 1 authority over this president? has it shocked you there's been no action other than democrats? >> right. >> the people who control congress, republicans, doing nothing. >> this is how cowardly the republicans are. behind closed doors, they all believe this is abysmal.
where is their leadership? where is their spine? at only is the world watching, we crafted this international order of human rights and we're basically right now saying it's okay. >> yeah. >> if americans really care, we have to make sure not only do we flood the switchboard, we have to show up and be present at town halls, all across the country this summer and march to the voting booths. i know sometimes people say it's trite. 93 million people sat it out last time. 93 million. that is not okay. >> yeah. >> what shapening is happening country is something that is deep, something that must resonate. the idea you can sleep at night knowing 20 children at a time are housed in cages, it's gut kren wrenching. >> the name of your organization is voter lalatino. will we see now the surge -- we keep saying it's going to happen. latino-americans, latino people are the center of this. by the way, it is not just lati latinos.
there are west indian, there are african, undocumented people from china, undocumented people from ireland. are we going to see people respond to this at the polls? >> i think people are incredibly -- >> they realize what happens. joy, i have to say thank you for being witness. >> i thank you for giving us the opportunity to witness this. this is horrific. we need to face the things in our country. maria teresa kumar. this wraps up our three-hour edition of "a.m. joy." in tornillo, texas, at the border. richard lui picks up our coverage from here. richard? for your driver to find you... taking the stress out of pickups. ♪ we're putting safety at the heart of everything we do...
and a very good sunday to you, i'm richard lui in for alex witt in new york at msnbc world headquarters. thanks for joining us. it's 1:00 in the east. 10:00 out west. here's what's happening. new protuests. and questions about the separations at the border. the government says it knows where all the children are. while critics question the motivation behind zero tolerance. >> it's wrong to separate babies, to use cruel, inhumane policy, in order to gin up your political base. and it seems like it's working. >> the president defending his immigration policy in front of the faithful. why